Def Leppard: ARTISTdirect Q&A
Tue, 07 Jun 2011 12:24:38
Summer 2011 is shaping up to be the summer of Def Leppard. The band is gearing up to release it's first-ever live album, Mirrorball, on June 7th. The live album, which will include a 50-minute DVD packed with extra live footage and intimate backstage access that'll make fans feel like they got behind the velvet rope to hang out with the band, is available exclusively at Walmart and Sam's Club locations in the US and Canada and at Walmart.com. Mirrorball will also include three new tunes. These legends of the '80s remain relevant and viable in the present and they will hit the road with fellow '80s rock dynamos Heart this week, as well.
If the live album and the tour weren't enough, Chronicle Books will be releasing , featuring photos of the band by legendary rock photographer Ross Halfin. Halfin's fully authorized visual history of the band follows them from the new wave of British heavy metal to their definitive, "must own if you are a self-respecting rock fan" releases Pyromania and Hysteria albums. The book also chronicles the British band's sustained vibrancy with their current albums and tours.
ARTISTdirect.com News Editor Amy Sciarretto spoke to guitarist Vivian Campbell (who got his start riffing for Dio) about the groundswell of activity in the Def Leppard camp, including the album that features lullabized versions of Leppard classics. He spoke about the band's vision for any forthcoming albums, as well, recognizing the instant gratification culture we live in, especially in the digital age, which makes full albums practically obsolete.
ARTISTdirect: There's a lot going on with Def Leppard right now, with the live album, the photo book and the summer tour. What are you most stoked about?
Vivian Campbell: I look forward to the tours; the album is what it is. It's done. It's a live album. We mixed it and there are three new songs and that'll aspect will have a life of its own, so we're focused on the tour.
AD: How do you keep yourself satisfied with touring after all these years? So many bands get tired of the mucking and grinding of touring at this point, but Def Leppard keep touring. How do you keep something that's so "old hat" fresh?
Vivian: I never get sick of it. We keep it fresh for ourselves and really enjoy it. We play the same songs a lot and you can't not do the songs you know your audience wants to hear, like 'Rock of Ages' and 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' and 'Photograph.' The other part of the equation is that we have those big hits and stay on road, but we change up the set. We'll add something obscure to the set list, if for our own benefit and for that of the diehards.
AD: What are some of your favorite memories of being a member of Def Leppard?
Vivian: There have been a lot. We have been through a lot together and it's a very easy environment to work in. We don't take ourselves seriously, but we take our job seriously. We are sober and we do our gigs and it's not the typical rock star thing. It's nice that there is no pressure that way and we're all there for the right reasons. We have had great football games and some near death experiences on private airplanes! We have had all of that, and it's all part of the bonding experience.
AD: What can you tell us about the new songs on the live album?
Vivian: There are three new songs on the live record. That was a last minute thing --we were going to just do a live recording for the DVD. Then management said that it would add more value to the package to have new songs so there was a mad scramble to write a few songs.
AD: These new songs were written specifically for the live album?
Vivian: Not really. I don't know when [bassist] Rick Savage or [guitarist] Phil Collen started writing them. The lead track off the album is 'Undefeated' that [singer] Joe Elliott wrote and he wrote it for this set.
AD: When is the next proper Def Leppard full-length?
Vivian: Next year we'll put out an album. I am not sure if it will be a full-length. I don't see the point in putting out full-lengths since the goal post has shifted. People are not interested in full-lengths. I'd rather put out less music with more quality. It used to be 10-12 songs that the record company wanted and you go into the studio and do the songs. We live in such pleasure times now; there is so much going on and there are so many things vying for people's attention and there is so much media and instant communication with the web and phones. People don't have time to listen to a full album. Very few will do that, so we want to give people quality.
AD: There is also the upcoming Dreaming With Def Leppard album, which is Def Leppard songs re-imagined as lullabies of all things. You took part in this project, right?
Vivian: I went and played on three songs a couple weeks ago and Phil played, too. It's pretty trippy, interesting thing; we've done acoustic versions of songs, but they were never meant to be played on acoustic guitar so when you do it, you gotta lay it differently. It's less bombastic and more rhythmic because the guitar is, and it is interesting hear it change the whole personality of the song. That can change with a whole different arrangement.
Def Leppard's Mirrorball is now available exclusively at Walmart and Sam's Club locations in the US and Canada and at Walmart.com.